The brand-new Baltimore Beltway gave the 1964 Bel-Loc Diner the front-half of its name. The “Loc” comes from Loch Raven Boulevard, where the stainless-steel diner remains at the intersection with Joppa Road fifty-one years later. Today the Beltway is more congested, but less traffic finds its way to the diner. The jumbo neon sign is not working, and besides, the restaurant closes after the lunch shift. Yet the Bel-Loc perseveres as a Towson landmark, with the boldness of the space-age sixties expressed by its sky-piercing zig-zag roofline.
Generations of employees from the same families have worked here, and generations of customers keep returning for the comfort food. Jean Bell, 75, arrived as a waitress when the Bel-Loc opened and never left. Now as general manager she presides over the front register, greeting old and new friends, and pitching in to seat customers or clear a table when it gets busy. Bell remembers when there were fewer fast-food joints and more clubs nearby that brought in late-night entertainers and crowds.
Owner Bill Doxanas’ father, Tom Doxanas, started the first Double T diners with partners, and then built the Bel-Loc. After college Bill came to help out one summer, and like Bell, stayed. Doxanas gets up at 4:15 a.m. seven days a week to prepare all the soups, gravies and sauces. The 65-year old Doxanas says, “I didn’t know when I was going to come here, and I don’t know when I’m going to go.” Retirement will beckon, and when it does, the Bel-Loc Diner’s time will be up.